Mariton: Nature Camp – Day One

July 29, 2013

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus.

Nature Camp started off great.  We have a good weather forecast for the week, and a wonderful group of nature lovin’ kids.  Our theme this week is Wildlife.  Today was insects.  Virginia Derbyshire started the morning with an overview of different insects that we might find this week, while also covering the life cycles and body parts of insects. 

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Then it was a hike to the fields to look for things.  As soon as we entered the first field, the kids found these shiny Dogbane Beetles.  (The kids remembered Virginia talking about them.)

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When we reached the field with the bergamot there were butterflies everywhere.  The kids used binoculars to see them better. 

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It is easy for kids to recognize the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (above).  The kids got a lot of positive re-enforcement, because there were so many “tigers” in the field.    But Tiger Swallowtails have a black morph (which can be confused with other swallowtail species).  Carol got a great photo with the tiger stripes backlit (below).

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(Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Black morph female)

Hummingbird Moths were also in the field.  We saw a rare one sitting still on a leaf, but then the kids got to see a few flying and hovering just like a hummingbird might.  (Hummingbirds don’t have antennae or a curled proboscis.)

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I am looking forward to the week as we study birds, aquatic wildlife, herptiles and mammals.